On your arrival at the airport you will be met by your zoologist escort and local guide. From here you will be taken to your accommodation, level – 3* hotel to check in and grab some lunch. Vladivostok is a large and mostly industrial city; which for long parts of its history was closed to the outside world. It is by far the largest city in eastern Russia and if time allows you can enjoy some sightseeing around this frontier city; places such as the fortress museum are worth the visit.
Lazovsky Nature Reserve
After leaving Vladivostok and heading east through the Sikhote-Alyn Mountains you will arrive at your accommodation, level – park cabins & camping; for the next 11 nights. Depending on the recent sightings and where the wildlife seems to be in the reserve we will leave the location of the accommodation until the last minute. Your local guide and zoologist escort will decide on where is best to base ourselves to make the most of the reserve, camping is also an option; specifically if you want to your luck for Siberian tigers. This reserve is one of the most important protected areas in the Sikhote-Alyn Mountains that spread north to south through both Primorsky and Khabarovski Krais. They are mostly Manchurain forest, these species cover around 96% of the reserve and are at their northern most range, one of the reasons why the wildlife is so diverse and important here is that the Manchurain forests give way to the northern Maritime forests that then spread north towards the huge Taiga forest. It is the meeting of these two floras that has given rise to large numbers of mammals and birds as well as hundreds of rare plant species. Another fantastic aspect of this park is the coastal regions, the beaches here are pristine and the warm waters of the Sea of Japan keep the coast a nice temperature during the summer. The mammal life in the reserve is very rich and as well as the amazing Siberian tiger there are two species of bear; (the Asiatic black bear and a rare subspecies of the brown bear) as well as Eurasian lynx and wolves. This high number of diversity of top predators means that there much be a huge number of prey animals and the reserve is full of sika deer, red deer, Siberian roe deer, musk deer and goral. But there are plenty of smaller mammal species here so we will be looking out for Eurasian badgers, sables, red foxes, Eurasian otters, Amur leopard cats, Siberian weasels and the bizarre racoon dogs. To help you find and understand some of these species as well as the abundant birdlife (many migratory species arrive here from the north and south in summer) you will have a small team of guides, including our own big cat specialist zoologist escort as well as an English speaking naturalist guide from Russia and the nature preserve’s own rangers. Watching the way that the guides search the landscape and read the ecosystem you will quickly pick up how to understand the tracks, scraps, scats and other tell tale signs of animal activity. If you wish we can look to set up a hide in a likely place for Siberian tigers, maybe a deer carcass or a scratching tree. We can also set up camera traps and wait to see what arrives in the evenings and night time which is when most of the predators are most active. Despite the protection now, the wildlife here was hunted for decades in the past and so the wildlife here is still very timid around people. During these 11 days you will also take the small boat ride out to the perfectly untouched Island of Petrov just offshore. This small island lies 700m offshore and only 3000 people are permitted to visit each year. Another nice place to spend some time in the reserve is Peschanaya Bay, this is a stunning bay in summer and somewhere that Siberian tigers have been seen to come down to scavenge on what is washed up by the sea. As well as these excursions and the time spent searching for wild animals we will also take you to the great museum run by the reserve. The colourful displays and lots of information about the reserves wildlife is a great introduction to the environment here. You will also have the chance of seeing Sibeirna tigers and other elusive wildlife by visiting the renowned Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Gaivoran, the animals brought here if they are injured or causing a problem to local communities and the centre tries to rehabilitate the animals for reintroduction to the reserve. As well as tigers there are lynx, foxes, Amur leopard cats and other interesting wildlife that you can get close to whilst here.
Today you will be transferred from Lazovsky Nature Reserve back to Vladivostok. The rest of the day will be free for you to relax and rest before your last evening meal in the wonderful Russian far east.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.